By all means, read the brilliant speech Chris Hedges gave at a fundraiser for a U.S. boat to Gaza. An excerpt:
When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.
I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.
You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive ... you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.
Beautifully, powerfully said. Do yourself a favor and read the rest.
Hedges even answers my objection to the fact that the boat will be named "The Audacity of Hope" by pointing out that those were actually the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's words (nearly—Wright said "audacity to hope") that were misappropriated by Obama. I'm still uncomfortable with the name, with its implication that those who chose it are unaware of the grotesque irony of associating Barack Obama with assisting the Palestinians (rather than assisting in their destruction)—or at the least unaware that that's how it will be taken by most of the people who hear it. But given Hedges' point and the courage and commitment of those who'll be making this trip, I won't quibble about it this time around.